NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS: The Boatman’s Call.

26 06 2016

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“Through every word that I speak
And every thing I know
There is hand that protects me
And I do love her so.”

 

Where I described everything about love, lust and all in between on Let Love In- I seemed to have reserved some of that for The Boatman’s Call. A record that pours out devotion and desire. Two things you need to keep anything alive. The Boatman’s Call is a record that I’d not given that much attention to. I love Nick Cave, that’s so obvious. And for the most part I do find myself swayed to anything pre- Murder Ballads. I’d found it hard to love anything as much as the records pre-1997, but obvious that’s a really lame stance to take and this is me rectifying it to myself. This doesn’t mean I don’t like or haven’t listened to anything after, far from it. I just have more of a connection with older records. Hey, if I can learn to like olives then I’m pretty sure I can do this.

Going back on my words, The Boatman’s Call is as great as Let Love In. The Boatman’s Call opens with the greatest love song of all time- Into My Arms. I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t like this song or has never quoted it at someone they love. Or even thought of the song when in the presence of the person they love. It’s just a stunning declaration of unconditional love, and when you feel that way about someone or something you cling onto it. Fight off anyone who ever tries to take it from you. It’s the kind of love song that’s part Ted Hughes, part Poe; “But I believe in love. And I know that you do too. And I believe in some kind of path. That we can walk down, me and you.” But it is every single part Nick Cave, from beginning to end.

By no means am I religious, and if I was I’d keep those views to myself- but I love the way in which Nick Cave links in religious imagery in his words. Example already above in Into My Arms- but the rest of this record, and others have heavy religious imagery flowing throughout them. It’s the way he does it that makes you curious and wonder if there is anything there. Maybe there is. There probably is, so believe in whatever the hell you want and just be kind to each other. That’s how it should be. I love this line from Brompton Oratory: “No God up in the sky, no devil beneath the sea.  Could do the job that you did, baby. Of bringing me to my knees.” I had another in mind, but this one just etched its way into my brain.

Where Into My Arms describes wanting to protect and to forever love the one you want, Are You The One That I’ve Been Waiting For? just sums up finding someone that you’re evidently meant to be with, and the realisation hits you. With nothing or no one getting in the way of it. Things take time, and Are You The One just describes all of the waiting so perfectly. Again, I wish I could write something like this. “I think of you in motion and just how close you are getting. And how every little thing anticipates you. All down my veins my heart-strings call, are you the one that I’ve been waiting for?”

The Boatman’s Call is the record that shifts Nick away from his more rowdy and loud sound, although it’s clear he has still flirted with that sound more often than not. The songs on The Boatman’s Call are gentle, loving and dark. Have I just described myself? Every single time I listen to him, I just find new words to love, a different verse to be taken aback by. Everything he does and has ever done just sums up what I’m feeling at a certain point. The vast majority of his songs hold such sentimental value, I don’t even know how to use my own words.

As I listen to Idiot Prayer, I can’t help but revert to being 9/10 years old and carrying this anger towards my dad for dying. Does the anger fade? A little. Do you get over it? No, you develop ways to hide your feelings. Anyway, irrespective of my inability to know what to do, I’ve found something in this verse: “If you’re in Heaven then you’ll forgive me, dear. Because that’s what they do up there. If you’re in Hell, then what can I say, you probably deserved in anyway. I guess I’m gonna find out any day. For we’ll meet again, and there’ll be Hell to pay.” He didn’t deserve it, for the record. It’s just a lyric. I think it’s taken me 21 years to find something to relate to regarding this.

Far From Me is such a painful song, that’s full of loss and torment. There’s parts of it that can reduce the toughest to tears. It’s hard to listen to, but I reckon most can identify and find comfort in: “You told me you’d stick by me. Through the thick and through the thin. Those were your very words, my fair-weather friend.” There’s other parts of the song that are equally as brutal as this, but I think that one just speaks for itself. It’s a brilliant “fuck you”, and lord knows that there are some worthy of it.

The record ends with Green Eyes, which the opening line is taken from the gorgeous Sonnet 18 by Louise Labé (read her work) : “Kiss me again, rekiss me and kiss me.” A stunning way to close the record, and is easily one of the best songs on The Boatman’s Call. Those green eyes….

Although The Boatman’s Call sees Nick taking himself away from previous sounds, that atmosphere in his lyrics are still there. They’ve always been there and I highly doubt that they will ever go away. If anything, as stripped back The Boatman’s Call is, it just shows how powerful a write he is- in every single way. He can take you to this world that makes you feel so safe, and so at ease with how you feel. It’s one of those records you play, and you realise again and again why you love him, and why words are so important. This record says all you want and wish to say- he just got there first.

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NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS: Let Love In.

25 06 2016

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“Our love-lines grew hopelessly tangled
And the bells from the chapel went jingle-jangle.”

 

I’ve always had this idea that every word that drips from Nick Cave’s mouth or every word he has written down just sums up what love is, and how love should be. It’s not typical. Who wants typical anyway? His words can make anyone feel uneasy but his words can be this gorgeous wave of comfort, and makes you feel less alone for wanting the things he sings about. It’s obvious how much I bloody idolise him, and there are certain records by him and the Bad Seeds that mean more to me than most. I’d happily work my way through every record and write about them, but I feel I’d never stop and I’d just bore the poor soul who reads this. Instead, I’ll just go back and forth between them all occasionally. Today, I’ve chosen Let Love In. Their eighth record, and probably my favourite.

The cover to Let Love In is one I remember seeing in the music magazines my uncle used to buy every week. I remember seeing a bare-chested Nick Cave look upwards. I always wondered what he was looking up to. A woman? Some form of God? A Goddess? Something bigger than all of us? A vacuum of nothing? Anything. It could be anything. I change my mind with every listen.

The records opens with Do You Love Me? The lyrics to this just sum up everything love should be and how a person that you’re insanely in love with should make you feel. If you don’t feel it, walk away. If you feel it, keep it until you leave this planet and walk into another one when you take your last breath. This song just sums up the possession of love and lust, and how they fall into each other. With no explanation, it just happens. But you need both to keep the other going. Both must always be there. There are many lyrics by Nick Cave that I could easily cast as his greatest, and for the most part it is hard to settle on one. But, at the moment I am solidly declaring this to be my utter favourite: “She was given to me to put things right. And I stacked all my accomplishments beside her.  Still I seemed so obsolete and small. I found God and all His devils insider her.” This just goes beyond being about love, it’s truly something else.

Thirsty Dog is easily another great song on the record, and I love this part of the song: “I’m sorry it’s just rotten luck. I’m sorry I’ve forgotten how to fuck. It’s just that I think my heart and soul are kind of famished.” This could be in my list of Nick Cave songs I’d never tire of listening to. It’s one of those songs that has different parts that you notice with each listen, and you pick different lines from it to absolutely adore and cherish. It’s like looking at someone you love and discovering new parts of them to love. If you’re not going to love something hard, then what is the point?

Let Love In is one of those records that make everything in your brain click. It shifts any doubt or any nagging feeling that may have gripped you. It’s the pure essence of love in all ways. It’s entirely dark and extremely romantic in all the right ways. It’s one of those records that just stays with you. The more I play it, the more I try to figure out what it is that I love so much about it. I doubt I’ll ever give one, solid reason as to why I love it so much. I guess it’s because in some respects, it says all I wish I could. If I ever wrote anything like this, I’d burn all my notebooks and declare I’m done. It captures so much in under an hour. I’m currently listening to the record, and a storm has just started. The perfect record to listen to as the heavens open.

Everything about Let Love In captures the things many steered away from, and still steer away from. It isn’t a light-hearted record in the slightest, and if anyone else even tried to make something like this it just wouldn’t sound right. Only Nick Cave can capture these feelings and unleash them like a lovable tyrant. This beautiful dark side is how it should be. I don’t know if love can be functioning if it is any another way. But that’s just my take on it.

There’s also tales of loss on the record, and they are told in such a haunting and frail way. The thing I love the most about Nick is that, although he’s quite sadistic with some of his words- he’s never been afraid to be open with his words. Some of his songs are truly vulnerable and honest, you just instantly relate to them. Take Ain’t Gonna Rain Anymore- this touches on the loss of a lover, and the way Nick delves into this is truly hypnotising. “Now the storm has passed over me, I’m left to drift on a dead calm sea. And watch her forever through the cracks in the beams. Nailed across the doorways of the bedrooms of my dreams.” You can find good in the bad at times, and these words show that entirely. So beautifully written. It’s also in Nobody’s Baby Now: “And though I’ve tried to lay her ghost down. She’s moving through me, even now. I don’t know why and I don’t know how. But she’s nobody’s baby now.” I’ll just add that to the list of songs I wish I wrote.

Let Love In is one of those records that just stay with you. Even if you heard it for the first time in 1994, you still remember hearing it. It takes you back. I was only 8/9 years old when it came out, so I found this record when I was about 15/16. It stayed with me. It’s always will me, and that alone just makes it my favourite Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds record, for purely sentimental reasons. As always.





THE BIRTHDAY PARTY: Prayers On Fire.

21 06 2016

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“The rhythm of her walk, it’s beautiful.
Just let it twist, let it break.
Let it buckle, let it bend.
I want the noise of my zoo music girl.”

 

When you see/hear a band for the first time, it always stays with you. It stays with you because you eventually fall in love with said band. Something or someone places that band in your life, and what happens after holds not much importance. Unless you want to get into it. You know the story about my love for Nick Cave. It started with me gawping at a poster of him in my uncle’s room. I used to go up there and just stare at it, along with one of Lou Reed. Both are huge loves of mine, both are why I care tremendously about lyrics and why I have a fascination with words.

The Birthday Party were one of the first bands I remember hearing that wonderfully terrified me. The way in which Nick would let out these screams, these crazy noises which seemed to tie in perfectly with Rowland’s manic guitar playing fascinated me. This noise blew my tiny mind at a young age, and maybe someone so young shouldn’t have been listening to them but I’m glad I was given the freedom to listen to whatever I wanted. Their first record was a demonic body of work that corrupted my mind and launched me to the less conventional side of being. Something I’m forever thankful for. Most regard love being defined in those sickly rom-com films. Hell no. It’s in a Nick Cave song.

I’ve chosen to write about Prayers On Fire because it’s the record that I first remember hearing, although I have a feeling I may have been turned on to Junkyard first. That’s for a different day because the artwork alone needs talking about. Always. Prayers On Fire is full of smutty, filthy and dangerous songs that make you want to slam someone into a wall, and do whatever you will. The tense yelps from Nick’s mouth send trembling and frequent shivers down your neck. Certain songs have this unkind and menacing feel to them. No song on this record is vulnerable or gentle. Each song leaves you saying “Oh fuck” at the end of it. It is rich in depravity and is easily one of the greatest records of all time. It needs to be played so loud that your neighbour thinks it is you that is being possessed bu something greater than you. Each song sounds like a drunken brawl spilling into the night. Each song has bouts of this glorious insanity that is found in the minds of geniuses.

The songs all read like sordid poetry that could easily be the script to a twisted horror film. The minds of The Birthday Party allow each member to explore something so dark, mysterious and unknown. For me it has ALWAYS been about Rowland S. Howard and his ability to shake up the listener with his machine gun sound. His way of playing guitar has evidently influenced so many bands I love, and the way he played just left you with your jaw on the ground. He managed to instill this fear into the listener with the noise he made, where Nick brought this curiosity with his yelps, screams and uneasy vocals. Phill’s drumming seemed to egg on each band member to go further and to really scare the listener. Mick Harvey was like the secret weapon and Tracy did some serious damage on the bass.

I’ve probably read the lyrics to the songs more than I have listened to them, and time and time again I always come back to Just You And Me. It’s such a warped and delirious, and it reads like such a twisted love poem. It’s like Ted Hughes mixed with Rimbaud with a hint of Poe. In short, it’s wonderfully perfect. In a way it reminds me of a really really extreme version of Lovesong by Ted Hughes. It’s a brutal dedication that most would shun because they favour something more conventional. Oh, how dull.

For me, The Birthday Party embodied everything I love about music. The fearlessness, the noise, the darkness within the songs, the poetry in the words, the way in which they take you somewhere really sinister and twisted- and you lust after it because it sounds SO good and you feel every single word. I’ve paid a lot of attention to this record of late, and I think it does have some incredible songs on it that just need to be heard. Always. I love Cry,  King Ink,  Dull Day. I could go on and on, but the record truly speaks for itself. You can’t dispute how great a record Prayers On Fire is. You just have to play it obnoxiously loud and join in with Nick’s passionate screams.

Let this whirling but assuring fear take over you as you listen to the record. Nobody is going to hold your hand on this one.